The Packers haven't always had such an impressive Lambeau Field record under Mike McCarthy, but they have figured out how to defending home field over the last two seasons. The Vikings will try to be become only the second visiting team since the start of last year to win there.
Attaining a fifth win in as many road games this season last Sunday at San Diego meant a great deal to head coach Mike McCarthy.
Running their home record to 4-0 with a win over the Minnesota Vikings
on Monday night would be significant for the unbeaten Packers, too.
"We should be a good home team," McCarthy said Thursday, as Green Bay practiced for the first time this week ahead of the prime-time matchup with its NFC North rivals.
It will be the Packers' first game at Lambeau Field in more than four weeks. Green Bay followed a home rout of the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 16 with road conquests of the Vikings and the Chargers around its bye week.
"It's been a long break from Lambeau. We're excited about being back," quarterback Aaron Rodgers
said. "I'm sure the field will be in good shape, the fans will be anxious to see us back. Hopefully, the weather cooperates. It's always nice playing in Lambeau, but we've done a good job outside of Lambeau."
Indeed, the majority of the Packers' wins in their first 8-0 start in 49 years have come away from Green Bay. The Packers last won their first five road games in 2007, when they finished the regular season with a 6-2 away record.
Green Bay was 7-1 at home that season, when it finished second in the NFC North, and had the same home record last season.
Interestingly, though, the Packers had never done better than a 2-0 start in games at Lambeau under McCarthy since 2006 until this season with the 3-0 record thus far.
Green Bay is in the midst of an eight-game home winning streak, which started with a 28-24 triumph over the Vikings on Oct. 24 last year. It's the best run of success for the Packers at Lambeau since they won 11 in a row spanning the 2001 and '02 seasons - they won all eight regular-season home games in 2002.
"We have a great home-field advantage created by our fans and just our whole stadium environment," said McCarthy, whose team has won 14 of its last 15 games at Lambeau after the Packers lost to Minnesota on Nov. 1, 2009.
Monday's rematch with the Vikings will mark the start of a second-half stretch run during which Green Bay's pursuit of the perfect 16-0 regular season will hinge greatly on its play at home. Five of the last eight games are at venerable Lambeau.
SERIES HISTORY: 101st regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 52-47-1. Green Bay's three-game winning streak in the series, which includes a 33-27 victory at Minnesota on Oct. 23 this season, is the Packers' longest since they won five in a row spanning the 2006 to '08 seasons. Green Bay is seeking a series sweep against its division rival for the second straight year and the fourth time in Mike McCarthy's six years as Packers head coach. The Packers have won four of the last five meetings in Green Bay. The teams' only postseason encounter came at Lambeau Field, where the Vikings upset the NFC North-champion Packers 31-17 in a wild-card game during the 2004 season.
TE Andrew Quarless spoke after practice Thursday about the disturbing events that have occurred at Penn State, his alma mater, in the past week. Quarless played for the Nittany Lions from 2006 to 2009. Legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno was fired by the school Wednesday night in the wake of sex-abuse allegations against former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. "I really feel sad for the kids, for those victims. It's very unfortunate," Quarless said. "It just hurts that those things were (allegedly) happening in the same (Penn State) facilities that I was in, even at the time I was there. It's really tough to fathom and think about."
OLB Clay Matthews continues to be listed on the injury report this week for a knee injury that kept him out of practice Thursday. Matthews has been dealing with a sore thigh most of the season and on a limited practice schedule each week. Head coach Mike McCarthy expects Matthews will practice Friday. The All-Pro should be fine to play Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings.
OLB Frank Zombo has been ruled out for Monday's game. He suffered a left hamstring strain in the 45-38 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. It's the third injury to keep Zombo out of action this season - he missed the first five games because of a broken shoulder blade and then didn't play in the first meeting against the Vikings on Oct. 23 because of a hyperextended knee.
LT Chad Clifton will miss a fourth straight game because of a torn hamstring. Second-year player Marshall Newhouse remains the starter in Clifton's absence.
RG Josh Sitton is again on a limited practice schedule this week. He's been dealing with a sore knee the last few weeks. Sitton is expected to be OK to make his customary start Monday.
DE Mike Neal practiced Thursday for the first time since he did limited work on his injured left knee during the opening week of the season. Neal participated in individual drills Thursday and probably will be brought along slowly before he is cleared to play in a game for the first time this season. Neal sustained cartilage damage in the knee during training camp Aug. 16 and underwent surgery Sept. 13.
CB Charles Woodson, who is tied for the league lead with five interceptions, looks to be poised for a big performance Monday. McCarthy said Woodson had "three or four" interceptions in Thursday's practice, the team's first on-field work of the week. Woodson picked off two passes from the Vikings' Christian Ponder in the rookie quarterback's starting debut at the Metrodome three weeks ago.